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Dallas Cowboys RB Felix Jones out for the season

IRVING -- The idea of rookie running back Felix Jones coming in to give Marion Barber a breather and added speed off the corner is on the shelf until 2009.

The Dallas Cowboys announced Thursday afternoon that Jones will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his great left toe and will miss the rest of the 2008 season.

Jones suffered the toe injury while he was rehabbing his injured left hamstring, which he injured against the Cardinals on Oct. 12 in Arizona. He has not played since.

Jones, however, did practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday. But according to a statement released by the Cowboys, the practice was more to evaluate if Jones could complete all the necessary duties to his position. He obviously can’t.

Jones was evaluated by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist based in Charlotte, on Monday. Based on the input from Anderson and the Cowboys’ team doctors, it was decided on Thursday that Jones needs season-ending surgery.

This should be taken as nothing less than a major blow to the Cowboys. In his first season with the Cowboys, Jones had quickly exceeded most expectations as he consistently showed explosiveness and speed and served as a solid complement to the bruising Barber.

In six games, Jones had 30 carries for 266 yards with three touchdowns. He averaged 8.9 yards per rush. He also had two catches for 10 yards, and averaged 27.1 yards on 16 kickoff returns. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against the Eagles in Week 2.

The hope was that Jones would be able to come back last week against the Washington Redskins, but the new injury not only put that on the table but the rest of his season as well.

The Cowboys will likely look to rookie fourth-round pick Tashard Choice to backup Barber, although there seems to be less confidence in Choice than Jones. Choice has 13 carries for 72 yards this season.